It’s kind of hard to believe that May is here. April flew by in a blur. My original goal for this month was to be able to run 3.1 miles, but I did that last month, so this month I decided to begin running outside. It’s a good thing I did. The first time I ran outside was at my parents’ house in Atlanta. Their neighborhood is fairly flat and no one knows me, so I felt pretty good about it. Sadly, one of the biggest hurdles I have had to face about running outside was having people see me. I feel silly. I’m afraid I look silly. I know I’m slow, and old, and not skinny. Still, it had to be done, and this was my best opportunity. It was terrible. Running outside is completely different from running on the treadmill. The treadmill sets my pace, has a fan, is inside away from the pollen, AND, since my incline feature is broken, it’s completely flat. It’s also a softer, more forgiving surface and I can run with both earphones in and lose myself in my music.
That first outside experience was discouraging in some ways. I found myself only able to run short distances. I was running too fast. On the other hand, I survived. No cars that passed me lost control because of the laughter of the drivers; no one yelled rude things out of windows. I was determined to try again. The next time I ran in my daughter’s neighborhood in Louisville. The first day I managed half a mile without stopping and the second day I did a mile. Progress is always encouraging. Since then I have run in my neighborhood several times. The furthest I have run outside without stopping to walk is two and half miles, BUT I am running up hills–big hills, and when the pollen drove me back inside to the treadmill, I ran four miles pretty easily, so that means running outside is making me stronger.
I like running out there. I run with one earbud in and the other tucked away in my shirt. I like hearing the outside sounds, but I need the music for pacing and inspiration. I’m being careful to rest in-between runs because I can feel the affects of these runs more in my muscles and joints. I’m also doing a little work with weights and some strengthening exercises. I lost my voice more than a week ago. I had a cold, but I think the problem is mostly allergies. I’m anxious for the pollen to finish up for the season.
Another thing I checked off my list in April is registering for my race. I’ll be part of the Runway 5K on June 7. The event is taking place the day before the seventh anniversary of my diagnosis, so that’s pretty cool. Oh, and I got some actual running clothes. They’re very snazzy and they match my running shoes which makes me happy.
I’m thankful for this journey. I’ve learned a lot–about myself, about faith, about determination, about how much of this running thing is mental.
My goal for May is to run 3.1 miles outside consistently. I’d like to do it once a week. I’d also like to be able to run the perimeter of my entire neighborhood, which is just over three miles but has lots of pretty major hills. We’ll see. A month ago I wouldn’t have seen that as a reasonable goal, but now I think I just might be able to do it. We’ll see. It’ll be fun trying.